Girl, 9, Croons the Blues Like an Old, Heartbroken Soul

ABC News Videos

9-Year-Old Sings the Blues Like You Wouldn't Believe

9-Year-Old Sings the Blues Like You Wouldn't Believe

9-Year-Old Sings the Blues Like You Wouldn't Believe

Now watching

Next video starts in : 7 Play

9-Year-Old Sings the Blues Like You Wouldn't Believe

If you were to only hear little EmiSunshine sing, rather than actually see her perform, you'd think the 9-year-old blues, bluegrass and country crooner was easily pushing 65.

"It's in her and just comes out," EmiSunhine's mother, Alisha Hamilton, told "There's nothing planned or forced. Her dad and I are amazed every time she opens her mouth."

When it comes to the blues, the young girl, born Emilie Sunshine Hamilton, from Madisonville, Tenn., has an unbelievably old soul, channeling some of country music's greatest from other eras such as Johnny Cash, Jimmie Rodgers and Dolly Parton.

"She likes the old music, as far back as the '20s," Hamilton, 45, said. "Not that there's anything wrong with the new, popular music, but she loves the old stuff. She is so drawn to it, it's hard to explain. She seems like she came from another era."

View gallery

EmiSunshine performs all the time, as often she can, mostly across Knoxville and Gatlinburg, Tenn.

"I like the performing," said little EmiSunshine, who has been singing since she was 4. "I love playing with my dad. He plays bass. And my brother plays mandolin."

Although music was already a Hamilton family affair, EmiSunshine's success has just recently been amplified after a YouTube video of the soulful sensation performing at a flea market in Sweetwater, Tenn., went wildly viral.

"My favorite thing is watching her and watching people's reactions to her, because she brings so much joy to people," said Hamilton, who has also been a songwriter for years. "As a mom, that's easily the best part."

Hamilton and her husband, Randall, have known EmiSunshine had a special musical ability ever since she was a baby, even before she could talk.

"My husband owns a recording studio so we had artists come through all the time," Hamilton recalled. "When they would sing, she would hum along. Even as a baby, her humming was pitch-perfect."

View gallery

But she's not all about the classics. Earlier this year, EmiSunshine, who also plays the ukulele and piano, released a disc with 18 songs on it. She wrote or co-wrote 16 of them, which, according to her parents, is one of her strongest gifts.

"She's been writing since she was about 5," said Hamilton. "With some performers, it's the parents pulling the strings. I've been a writer for years and years, but I've never been as good as I am with her. She pulls it out of me.

"For instance," Hamilton added of her intuitive daughter, "when we're writing songs or riding from gig to gig, she'll see somebody on the street and make a comment that makes it seem like she knew them from when they were a teenager, like she's known them all their life, and she'll use that for inspiration."

There's no denying this little girl can belt it out with the best of them, but where she draws this emotion, even her parents don't understand.

As she wails classics like Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison" or Dolly Parton's "Jolene," EmiSunshine conveys so much emotion you'd think the 9-year-old had lived through years of heartbreak and tragedy herself.

"She sings it with so much emotion she makes you believe it," said Hamilton.

"I was born with it," Emi Sunshine modestly explained.

View Comments (382)

Recommended for You

  • Shayna Hubers Granted New Trial After Juror Who Helped Convict Her Revealed to Be Felon

    A judge has ruled that Shayna Hubers, the Kentucky woman who was convicted in the shooting death of her on-again, off-again boyfriend Ryan Carter Poston, should get a new trial after officials discovered that a juror who helped find her guilty never disclosed that he was a felon. Hubers was…

    Good Morning America16 mins ago
  • Donald Trump 'Deserves Credit' for African-American Outreach, Campaign Manager Says

    Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway defended her candidate on "GMA" this morning, saying that he "deserves credit" for his outreach to African-American voters.The interview also covered Trump's immigration plan, the details of which have been questioned in recent days, after the…

    Good Morning America21 mins ago
  • Ground Still Shaking as Italy Quake Death Toll Rises to 267

    The ground still trembled as Italy woke up for the third day and faced an ongoing national disaster. At least nine significant aftershocks struck the affected area overnight, including one at 6:28 a.m. local time Friday that measured 4.7 on the Richter scale. Some 1,000 aftershocks have rocked…

    Good Morning America36 mins ago
  • Natalie Portman Actually Welcomes Dress Questions on Red Carpet

    Natalie Portman has an Oscar and two epic fandom franchises to her credit, but her latest film, "A Tale of Love and Darkness" might actually be her most personal. The movie focuses on the "relationship between a boy and his mother during the creation of the state of Israel" and Portman not only…

    Good Morning America
  • Celebrate National Dog Day With This Quiz on Man's Best Friend

    On the ABC News app? Click HERE to watch this interactive video.It's National Dog Day today, and to celebrate, ABC News went to a dog park in Los Angeles to quiz people about dogs.Take the interactive quiz above to see how much you know about man's best friend. ...

    Good Morning America
  • Race for Survivors in Italy as Quake Death Toll Climbs to 267

    Rescue workers raced to find survivors one day after a powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked central Italy, killing at least 267, injuring nearly 400 more and leaving thousands homeless.A powerful 4.7 magnitude aftershock hit the area at 6:28 AM local time Friday morning, according to the United…

    Good Morning America
  • Prince William and Lady in Red Kate Open Up About Parenting

    For the second day in a row, Prince William and Princess Kate met with children, parents and counselors seeking to provide a safe environment for children. The Royals visited Young Minds on Thursday in South East London. The charity operates a helpline for those needing support and the Duke and…

    Good Morning America
  • Ryan Lochte Charged for Making False Police Report in Rio

    U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has been charged for making a false police report in connection with the Rio de Janeiro gas station incident, Civil Police confirmed to ABC News. Earlier today, it was reported that Lochte has been summoned to give testimony related to the investigation into the…

    Good Morning America
  • Viola Davis Opens Up About Her Youth as 'the Hungry Kid'

    Viola Davis took time out of her busy schedule today to talk about a mission that is near and dear to her heart, Hunger Is, her charity that aims to fight childhood hunger in America."We are launching a new fundraising in September," Davis said of her charity. "We're trying to get five million more…

    Good Morning America
  • Syrian Conjoined Twins Evacuated to Damascus Hospital Die of Heart Failure

    Syrian conjoined twins who were evacuated from their war-torn town in Syria for medical treatment died of heart failure Wednesday, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent announced. On Aug. 12, the 2-month-old twins, Nawras and Mou'az Al-Hashash were evacuated from the besieged Syrian town of Ghouta to a…

    Good Morning America
  • Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump Has Used 'Prejudice and Paranoia' in Campaign

    Hillary Clinton hit back at Donald Trump and his campaign tactics relating to race the day after he called her "a bigot," saying his real message is, "Make America hate again.""From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia," she said at an event in Reno, Nevada,…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Trident' Vulnerabilities Prompt Apple iPhone Update, Cybersecurity Firm Says

    Cybersecurity researchers have announced the discovery of three major vulnerabilities in the Apple iPhone operating system affecting users worldwide and prompting the software giant to release a security update. Mike Murray, vice president of security research at Lookout, said that his firm --…

    Good Morning America
  • Indiana Woman Loses Home of 16 Years After Devastating Tornado

    An Indiana woman is searching for personal items and sifting through the remains of her home after a ferocious tornado swept through her town Wednesday. Becki Sweeney was at work when the storm hit Kokomo, Indiana. Kokomo mayor Greg Goodnight said he feels "very grateful" that no deaths or…

    Good Morning America
  • The Heartbreaking Story Behind Photo of Elderly Couple Crying

    Bartyik said her grandpa, 83-year-old Wolfram Gottschalk, was first put in an assisted living home in January after he suffered health complications from dementia that made it impossible for her family to take care of him at home. Four months later, her grandmother -- 81-year-old Anita Gottschalk…

    Good Morning America
  • Over 200 'Very Blessed' Indiana Residents Forced Into Shelters After Tornado Tears Through Town

    The mayor of Kokomo, Indiana, said this morning he's "very grateful" after no deaths or serious injuries were reported from a devastating storm and tornado that hit the town Wednesday, flattening buildings and damaging homes. About 10 to 15 minor injuries were reported, Howard County Sheriff…

    Good Morning America
  • Homeland Security Investigates Hacking of 'Ghostbusters' Star Leslie Jones' Website

    The hacking of "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones' website,, is now a federal case. Rachael Yong Yow, public affairs officer for the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told ABC News today that the Department of Homeland Security is investigating the…

    Good Morning America
  • 20,000 Safety 1st Strollers Recalled in the US Because of Defect

    Approximately 20,000 baby strollers have been voluntarily recalled after many were found to have a defect that caused small children to fall out of their seat. The Safety 1st brand's Step and Go Travel Systems strollers have a defect that allows the tray folding mechanism to disengage while it is…

    Good Morning America